Once the darling of middle England, with a Mercury Music Prize under his belt for his debut and the go-to guy for the soundtrack to About A Boy, Damon Gough’s star has been very much in the descendant for the last few years, as the world seemed to forget his slightly dishevelled but heartfelt bedsit paeans. Photographing Snowflakes deserves to put him back in our collective consciousness, but not on first listen.
For the most part, it’s a fragile, personal collection, which takes a couple of weeks to work its gentle charms, from the barely there opening of ‘In Safe Hands’ to the spacey closing track, ‘This Beautiful Idea’. In between there’s the truly gorgeous ‘The Order Of Things’, the hopelessly romantic string-soaked ‘Too Many Miracles’, the melancholy ‘What Tomorrow Brings’ and the brutally honest, countrified ‘It’s What I’m Thinking’. It does veer towards the middle of the road at times, with ‘I Saw You Walk Away’ and ‘You Lied’ the main offenders, but for the most part this is a quietly confident return to form, where Gough retains the ability to pen a poignant couplet that fires right to the heart of the matter, as on ‘A Pure Accident’ when he pleads, “I know you will forgive me, for the things that I’ve done wrong/ I’m sorry I never liked your favourite song”.
With his own label and his strongest set of songs in years (this is the first album in a projected trilogy), it seems that Damon Gough still has something to talk about and more importantly, a voice worth listening to.